Draped in dreamy green and orange hues, this hand-picked hybrid from Master Chong has truly been cultivated to perfection. Hailing from Humboldt County, this euphoric strain grown by Denver-based Verde Natural brings the easy-going creativity of the West Coast straight to the Mile High City.
Blue Dream’s super dense flowers have the appearance of fluffy sand-covered limes that beg the observer to gaze deeper into its crystalline depths. The coconut brown-tinted pistils weave throughout these jungly nugs while gigantic glittering trichomes stick to the fingers like Gorilla Glue.
Despite its starry-eyed namesake, this specimen has a subtly floral scent well-suited for family gatherings or other important events where you may not want to advertise your elevated status. After a quick grind, a hint of Sweet Tarts presents Blue Dream’s sassier side and gets the salivary glands kick-started into action.
No session with Blue Dream would be complete without the proper apparatus, so I took Angelina Bowlie (a.k.a. my large-lipped 3-foot bong) out of retirement and put her to work. With a heaping salad bowl loaded up, the first hit produced a cloud so thick the neighbors probably thought I built a sauna in my living room.
The heavy-hitting tokes let you know right away why it’s called “Blue Dream”; it’s simply one of the most sensational highs you’ll experience outside of being deep inside of a dream. Calming, relaxing, uplifting and body-buzzing, this hybrid truly showcases the generations of hard work that have gone into producing this incredible strain that is designed to saturate both body and mind.
Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us! Rejoice fellow victims of the munchies! Now stop rejoicing and pay the girl at your door $5 per box immediately, or she’s liable to break a kneecap. She’s got more sales to make, and Girl Scouts don’t play! But, I digress. In honor of the sinfully delicious confections handcrafted by tiny Keebler elves and hand-delivered by even tinier child laborers, I present to you yet another handcrafted treat (with 100% less child labor):
Girl Scout Cookies by Denver Relief, which is a hybrid cannabis flower strain testing at about 19% THC.
Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies is a cross between Durban Poison, OG Kush, and Cherry Kush.
In my experience, Girl Scout Cookies seems to be one of the more popular strains in Colorado and the West Coast, particularly California. Market demand naturally affects supply and, as a result, the availability of the eponymous strain has noticeably increased over the years. So when I say that Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookie is damn near the best I have had the personal pleasure of witnessing and consuming, please believe that my assessment comes after having seen a nauseating amount of the strain over the years.
The Girl Scout Cookies flower has a smaller, rounded pinecone shape that is quite dense and a dry texture that retains much of the flower’s qualities while easily crumbling between my pressed fingers. The texture, in other words, is indicative of a proper dry and cure process, which is what I have come to expect of Denver Relief. The flower’s primary color is a pale, light green, but this base coat is barely visible beneath a drizzling of vibrant orange pistils, a thick blanket of sparkling trichomes, and the occasional dark green, almost purple, spot.
Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies has overtones of pine, diesel, and a bit of an earthiness and undertones of sour citrus. Upon crumbling the flower, I noticed the sour citrus aroma increased and a general sweetness emerged.
Consumption Method and Flavor
I tend to smoke joints, so that’s what I did. I prefer joints because I can repeatedly taste the flower, and I can determine how well the flower has been flushed by inspecting the joint’s ash—generally, the whiter the ash, the better the flush.
In this instance, the joint’s ash was almost pure white, signaling a thorough flush—again, I have come to expect nothing less from Denver Relief. The smooth, clean smoke reflected Denver Relief’s hard work, but the strain also seems to have its own mellow, flavor qualities. The flower starts of with a semi-sharp, pine flavor but quickly eases into a mellow sweetness that persists solo through the after taste.
Overall, I really enjoyed the productive effect of Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies. The strain does not have a heavy hitting high that will make you dumber than June Shannon—I’m sorry I made you look her up—but, then again, no Girl Scout Cookies flower has ever had that effect on me. Instead, I immediately experienced a cerebral high that actually helped me focus on work while neither imparting much energy nor drowsiness; this effect was welcome considering I perhaps had too much coffee earlier in the day but still needed to get work done. Like a true hybrid, the cerebral effects were accompanied by a slight body high that tingled my extremities and made me feel lightweight overall. After about an hour, I still had not felt the drowsiness that so often follows a lesser flower’s high. Denver Relief’s Girls Scout Cookies strikes an exquisite balance between Durban Poison’s uplifting cerebral effects and Kush’s physical effects.
I don’t normally choose Girl Scout Cookies when shopping for cannabis because, as I previously mentioned, I often find the strain’s high to lack luster. Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies, however, gets you high with a purpose. Instead of turning you into a poorly functioning, giggling buffoon, you will more likely feel focused, functional, and relaxed. If you enjoy smoking while working, I highly recommend Denver Relief’s Girl Scout Cookies.
Interested in trying Girl Scout Cookies for yourself? Support Denver Relief, the oldest operating dispensary in Denver, and consider purchasing from their store. Click here to browse Denver Relief’s current menu.
Participants in the cannabis culture may be familiar with a few of the rare varieties of the plant that are categorized as landrace strains, including Colombian Gold, Durban Poison, Northern Lights, and Afghan Kush. “Landrace” simply refers to the small number of surviving strains of cannabis that evolved naturally in the geographic region in which they were initially discovered (by 20th century humans, that is). Some experts believe that about 100 of these rare strains exist today.
Landrace strains hail from global regions such as Jamaica, Afghanistan, India, Africa, Mexico, Pakistan, and Central America. They are believed to have originated in the Hindu Kush region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is one reason that so many strain names incorporate the term “Kush,” such as the always-popular OG Kush (the “OG” means “Ocean Grown,” denoting West Coast breeding and cultivation).
Many cultivators believe that the best examples of cannabis sativa are grown in a region as close to the equator as possible and at a relatively high elevation. Thus, mountainous areas in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and Indonesia are almost perfectly suited to the cultivation of high-quality cannabis. This is no coincidence; landrace strains hail from most of these regions. Technically, landrace strains are those that have stabilized over time as a result of natural inbreeding.
Other definitions of landrace cannabis include any that hasn’t purposefully been bred or otherwise manipulated by humans. Such indigenous varieties of marijuana, because they have evolved within a particular region, are very precisely acclimated to their local climates — and may offer unique medicinal qualities that are specifically tuned to the native humans of that region. Wrote Rick Pfrommer, Director of Education at Harborside Health Center, one of the nation’s largest dispensaries:
“It’s not that [landrace strains are] necessarily better, [they’re] just different, and perhaps more effective for some patients’ specific conditions or needs.”
Source of All Modern Strains
Many readers aren’t interested in a history lesson, however. How are landrace strains related to modern varieties and hybrids? Put simply, landraces are the origin of all modern cannabis strains. They are the genesis of cannabis in society and reflect its state of development, or evolution, before modern humans began breeding and cultivating the herb for medicine, lifestyle enhancement, and profit.
Cannabis breeders long ago took original landrace strains and bred, or crossed, them in an effort to create new strains possessing the best characteristics of both parents (and, just as with dogs or humans, hopefully few of their bad traits). Some strains feature shorter growing periods or are more resistant to pests or mold, making them the desire of cultivators. Others, especially sativa varieties, may be more difficult to grow and feature relatively long flowering cycles, but can also deliver unique medicinal and psychoactive effects that are sought by many patients and cannabis consumers.
For all practical purposes, it must be assumed that many landrace strains, in their original, pure form, have been lost forever. Endless crosses over several decades in most areas of the world, especially North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe, have resulted in diluted genetics. The sad reality is that many “pure” breeds of cannabis are often mislabeled. Many purported examples of seeds, harvested cannabis flowers, or concentrates from pure landrace strains are inevitably not. Instead, they are sometimes the descendents of multiple landraces that have been bred (either purposefully or accidentally), going back an unknown number of generations — and with possibly very different characteristics. Also, genetic mutations easily emerge, especially under different growing conditions, which can cause great stress to mature plants.
For decades, strains have been bred to bring out their potency, especially in terms of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the cannabinoid in the plant that delivers psychoactive effects and is largely responsible for its euphoria — but also is a powerful medicine for dozens of diseases. However, researchers and medical professionals have identified something called the entourage effect that supports the concept of whole flower medicine by observing that cannabinoids and terpenes interact synergistically, in a delicate and nuanced supplementation of the human body’s endocannabinoid system.
The good news is that a significant portion of the cannabis breeding community has been focused on creating strains that deliver the greatest medicinal value. Many modern varieties of cannabis are a far cry from the original strains from which they are descended. Just as a modern human living in Kentucky might be a descendant of American founding father Benjamin Franklin while, in most respects, the two humans are very different, cannabis strain crosses often, in reality, feature a morphology (shape and size), growing characteristics, and high type that is very different from their landrace ancestors. Sometimes, crosses and hybrids are more appropriate and therapeutic than landrace strains for particular diseases or ailments.
Understanding Phenotypes and Heirlooms
When seeds from landrace strains are cultivated outside the zone in which they evolved, they produce what geneticists and breeders label phenotypes. Phenotypes are transmogrifications of the plant that result in similar, but different characteristics. This includes morphology, development (such as the length of flowering cycles), and biochemical properties (potency and cannabinoid/terpene profiles). Phenotypes that are direct descendents of landrace strains, with no breeding or crossbreeding, are known as heirlooms.
In landrace strains grown outside their area of origin, a change occurs in the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of the resinous trichomes found on the female flowers of these heirloom varieties. Because they necessarily receive different light cycles, sometimes artificial light instead of natural, and different soil (not to mention dramatic variances in water, humidity, and nutrition), these strains must modify and adapt to their new environments. This changes the inherent characteristics of these strains, including their medical efficacy and high type.
Because they have evolved over hundreds of thousands or even millions of years, landrace strains are considered to be more “balanced,” with terpene and cannabinoid profiles that are in harmony with the needs of the plant, its environment, and — in theory — the humans and animals living in the region that consumed it. (All mammals have an endocannabinoid system and, therefore, are affected by cannabis in a manner similar to humans.)
Origin of American Cultivation Culture
The cannabis cultivation cultures in Northern California and Hawaii have their genesis in heirloom strains introduced to the United States during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. The climate in Northern California sometimes closely approximates that of parts of Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush mountains. Because the central West Coast of the United States is roughly similar in the weather it receives, landrace strains brought back from some regions of Indonesia and the Middle East have traditionally thrived in Northern California. With them, the cannabis culture in the United States has also thrived. Both Hawaii and the entire West Coast have become synonymous with high-quality outdoor grown cannabis — just as Columbia is known for producing some of the world’s best coffee beans.
Patients and lifestyle consumers wishing to expand their cannabis horizons should seek out landrace and heirloom strains in an effort to learn more about the roots of cannabis in not only North America, but throughout the world. Cultivators wanting a change of pace should strive to obtain seeds and clones (cuttings) from heirloom strains in an effort to keep them alive for current and future generations and give patients (and medical professionals, including researchers) additional options for cannabis medicine.
Classic Landrace Strains
In the past, landrace strains that happened to be sativas were eschewed by gardeners for indicas and crosses that featured shorter flowering periods. This was simply because these varieties were more profitable for commercial cultivators. However, the recent wave of recreational and medical cannabis laws at the state level in the U.S. has spawned markets for special strains, many of which are landrace sativas (such as Durban Poison).
Examples of popular and classic landrace strains include the following:
- Afghan Kush: A pure indica strain purported to have originated in the Hindu Kush Mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- G13: A landrace from Afghanistan that typically leans toward indica. However, two phenotypes of this strain exist, the second of which is a sativa.
- Durban Poison: An unusually potent sativa from the South African port city of Durban. Click here to read an expert review of this strain.
- Acapulco Gold: The infamous landrace sativa that hails from the Acapulco region of Southwest Mexico and typically features high levels of THC.
- Northern Lights: A legendary indica, this highly inbred Afghani is purported to hail from British Columbia.
- Rooibaard: A sativa from the coastal area of the Transkei region of South Africa.
- Colombian Gold: The fabled cannabis hybrid that is sometimes a bit sativa-dom that originates in the Santa Marta mountains of Colombia in Central America.
- Hawaiian: A sativa-dom hybrid from the islands of Hawaii.
- Malawi Gold: A pure sativa is from the Salima region of Malawi in Southeast Africa.
- Thai: A sativa from, as its name implies, Thailand. Hybrids derived from Thai include Fruity Thai and Juicy Fruit Thai.
- Panama Red: This sativa from Panama became popular in the late 1960s, during the hippy psychedelic era.
- Punto Rojo: A sativa from Columbia that is considered by some to be even better than Colombian Gold.